Chad Spanos, MD, Lab

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Primary Research Group

Cancer Biology & Immunotherapies

Secondary Research Groups

Environmental Influences on Health & Disease


Dr. Spanos Bio

Chad Spanos

  • Assistant Scientist,
    Cancer Biology & Immunotherapies Group
  • Head and Neck Surgeon, Sanford Ear, Nose and Throat Clinic
Academic Affiliation
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Surgery, University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine

Primary Research Focus

Chad Spanos and his research team focus on head and neck cancers caused by human papilloma virus (HPV). 

Behind the Research

Squamous cell cancer in the head and neck (HNSCC) provides a fascinating dichotomy because approximately one-third of the tumors are caused by HPV and about two-thirds are a result of random mutations. Even though HPV(+) HNSCC presents at a more advanced stage than HPV(-) tumors, the survival is markedly (30 to 40 percent at five years) better in patients with HPV(+) HNSCC.

Advanced stage HNSCC is often treated with radiation therapy. We have developed an immune competent model of HPV(+) and HPV(-) tonsil cell cancer in mice. Our preliminary data shows that clearance of HPV(+) cancers treated with radiation occurs only in the setting of an intact immune response. We hypothesize that HPV(+) cancers are curable due to an immune response that is induced to the tumor cells with radiation therapy. Our aim is to improve understanding of immunologic clearance so that novel therapies can be created that would decrease treatment and morbidity and increase survival.


Contact Information  
Phone: (605) 328-8200  
Contact Sanford Research

Address: 2301 E. 60th Street N
Sioux Falls, SD 57104
Phone: (605) 312-6300
Fax: (605) 312-6071